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PRESS RELEASE
5-21-12

Guardsmark Settles Harassment Suit with EEOC

Agency Obtains $25,000 for East Indian Guard Harassed Due to National Origin and Age

SAN  JOSE, Calif. – Security firm Guardsmark will pay $25,000 and furnish other  relief to settle a harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The  EEOC’s suit charged that Memphis-based Guardsmark violated federal law when a  co-worker repeatedly harassed a security guard, who worked out of the company’s  San Jose location, because of his East Indian national origin and his age (66  at the time). According to the EEOC,  Guardsmark not only ignored the employee’s reports of harassment, but  retaliated against him with an involuntary transfer.

“I  am glad I reported my case to the EEOC and glad to put this behind me,” said  the former security guard. “I hope my  case will help others understand that an employer has an obligation to ensure a  workplace free of harassment.”

Under  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in  Employment Act (ADEA), employers have a legal obligation to stop discrimination  based on national origin and age. Both  laws also strictly prohibit retaliation against workers who report  discrimination. After an investigation  by EEOC Investigator Rosa Salazar and first attempting to reach a voluntary  settlement through conciliation efforts, the EEOC filed the suit (CV 5:11  CV-03190 PSG) in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern District of  California. Under the consent decree settling the suit, Guardsmark  will pay the former guard $25,000 and also agreed to provide anti-discrimination  training to all managers who directly supervise employees at Guardsmark’s San  Jose office. The company also will post  a notice at its San Jose office reaffirming its commitment to non-discrimination  in the workplace.

EEOC  Regional Attorney William Tamayo said, “When complaints are not met with an  immediate response, an employee may believe that a safe workplace is not a  priority for management. We commend  Guardsmark for working with us to resolve this case following court-ordered  mediation.”

EEOC  District Director Michael Baldonado noted, “Employers need to be proactive  about eliminating harassment as soon as they become aware of it. Regular training in anti-discrimination laws  and policies is simply a smart investment in prevention, and supervisors should  be held accountable for enforcing them.”

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the EEOC is  available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.